State of California Issues Media RFP

State of California Issues Media RFP
State of California Issues Media RFP

PUBADV is seeking proposals from qualified media strategy consultant firms who can help us plan, develop and execute media strategies to more effectively influence policymakers and decision makers toward adopting policies and actions that ensure utility services are accessible, affordable, safe, and reliable, consistent with the state’s environmental goals, and to ensure no customer is left behind.

The key priorities are:

• Plan, develop and execute media strategies in order to effectively participate in the public conversation through the news media.

• Develop core competency in communicating effectively with all audiences relating to key energy, water, and communications policy issues.

The outcomes will be:

• Improve PUBADV’s knowledge, skill, and ability to effectively engage with the media on a strategic and regular basis.

• Enhance PUBADV’s reputation as a leader that policymakers, decision makers, and the media can trust for thorough, evidence-based policy analysis and recommendations related to access, affordability, safety, and reliability of energy, water, and communications services.

• Establish PUBADV as a leading voice for utility customers in advancing the public’s health and safety, as it relates to essential utility services.

• Sharpen PUBADV’s ability to translate highly technical subject matter into digestible content that attracts the interest of the media.


The Public Advocates Office (PUBADV) is an independent organization at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that represents customers who buy energy, water and communications services from investor-owned utilities. PUBADV is an advocacy organization that participates in CPUC proceedings (often adversarial and litigious) and the state legislative process to influence policymakers and decision makers to advance the interests of utility customers. Our statutory mission is to obtain the lowest possible rate for utility service consistent with safe and reliable service. As the only State entity charged with this responsibility, we have a critical role in ensuring that customers are represented at the CPUC and the state legislature on matters that affect their access to utility services and the affordability, quality and reliability of those services.

Scope of Work:

The Contractor shall perform the described Task and Deliverables identified within this scope of work. PUBADV requires the services of an expert Media Strategy Consultant firm to undertake the following major elements/tasks:

1.       Project Management and Work Plan Facilitation

The Contractor shall outline and perform specific tactical measurements and tracking tools to ensure progress and consistency on the following, in accordance with the Contractor’s Work Plan

a) Outline of schedule of completion

b) Interim work products

c) Schedule of deliverables

d) Budget tracking

e) How the services will be scheduled and approached,

f) A high-level overview on how services will be performed,

g) A comprehensive media plan facilitation process for key priority issues as they arise relating to each issue area (Energy, Water, and Telecommunications) and for PUBADV organization as a whole,

h) A robust overall strategy that identifies clear solutions for the issues prioritized,

i) Identify potential allies (including non-governmental organizations) who can support and complement PUBADV advocacy efforts in each priority issue; and establishing short-andlong-term goals for strategic communications for each issue area and PUBADV organization as a whole.

2. Research and Analysis

The Contractor shall provide an analysis of California news coverage to establish the foundation for strategic communications planning and action.

3. Technical Support

The Contractor shall provide technical assistance and ongoing support up to six (6) PUBADV’s staff assigned to the Communication unit. Technical assistance shall consist of the review of public-facing materials such as news releases and talking points to ensure they evoke our core values and incorporate prioritized solutions using everyday language; refine communications strategy; assess news coverage; and other needs.

The Contractor shall provide support to PUBADV staff assigned to Communications unit for the development of a strategic communications plan that aligns PUBADV priorities and articulate goals, objectives, targets, message(s), messengers, activities, and evaluation indicators for conducting proactive and reactive communications support as needed in the short and the long-term. The Contractor shall develop tools that will allow staff to mature and strengthen their communications skills. Technical Support shall be limited to two hundred fifty (250) hours for the term of the contract, which may be extended by mutual agreement, and formal amendment.

4. Training

a. The Contractor shall develop content and train up to forty-five (45) PUBADV staff on media strategy and advocacy relevant to key energy, water and communications policy issues facing Californians. The training content must include the following:

1) Media advocacy interactive format.

2) Explain a “default frame” and how it typically limits understanding of issues.

3) Identify various frames in news coverage.

4) Describe the difference between a message and message strategy.

5) How to use the components of a message to cue the environment first and include values.

6) Solution strategies to influence policymakers and decision makers public opinion.

7) How to conduct power analysis and assess the probability of gains and losses.

b. The Contractor shall provide media techniques on how to maneuver high pressure media interviews. The training must include:

1) How to respond effectively in high-pressure interviews.

2) Deep listening and assessment of message techniques.

3) How to effectively express and answer tough questions in high stakes situations.

This training shall provide PUBADV staff with the ability to:

§ Understand the role of the news in shaping debates about energy, water, and communications infrastructure issues.

§ Develop strategic communications activities that support the PUBADV’s overall strategy.

§ Frame energy, water, and communications infrastructure to highlight community participation and government responsibility.

§ Develop concise messages that lead with Californian’s shared values; and

§ Deliver messages in high stakes situations to California residents, news reporters, policymakers, and decision makers.


The Contractor shall:

Task 1: Project Management and Work Plan Facilitation

a) Complete the Project Management and Work Plan Facilitation tasks as described in the above Section B, Statement of Work.

b) After the execution of the contract, the Contractor shall provide status updates on a frequency basis determine by the PUBADV Project Manager and agreed upon by the Contractor, detailing progress along the project schedule and addressing any concerns or issues that may come up.

c) Participate and attend up to twenty (20) meetings as requested by the PUBADV Project Manager at PUBADV’s office in San Francisco, California, unless otherwise agreed to by PUBADV and the Contractor.

Deliverable 1: Project Management and Work Plan Facilitation

a) Upon contract execution, attend an in-person kick-off meeting with PUBADV staff in San Francisco on a date and time agreed upon by PUBADV and the Contractor. The Contractor shall present in detail their work plan

b) Provide detailed status updates via email to the PUBADV Project Manager on a frequency basis determined by PUBADV Project Manager and agreed upon by the Contractor throughout the project duration.

Task 2: Research and Analysis Plan Upon contract execution, the Contractor shall review and develop a baseline analysis listed in the above Section B, Statement of Work to be adopted by PUBADV.

Deliverable 2: Research and Analysis Plan Within thirty (30) days of contract execution, submit a draft report that provides a baseline news analysis of priority issues, assess frames and speakers in identified issue areas, and recommendations for a narrative that characterizes the PUBADV organization as a whole that can uplift its core values and priorities for energy, water, and communications.

Task 3: Technical Support Perform Technical Support task as described in the above Section B, Statement of Work.

Deliverable 3: Technical Support Throughout the duration of this agreement, the Contractor shall provide technical support as requested by PUBADV within 24 hours of notification for urgent, pressing matters, and within five (5) working days of notification for less time-sensitive matters. Provide Technical Support limited to two hundred and fifty (250) hours for the term of the contract, which may be extended through mutual agreement, and a formal Amendment.

Task 4: Training Provide the task of Training as described in the above Section B, Statement of Work.

Deliverable 4: Training Train up to forty-five (45) selected staff within nine (9) months of contract execution on (a) media strategy and (b) high pressure interviews. The training session breakdown shall consist of three (3) cohorts, each with fifteen (15) PUBADV staff to be trained within the nine (9) month period. The contractor is responsible for providing all training equipment, materials and resources. PUBADV is responsible for securing the meeting space.

Due Date:

May 14, 2020 no later than 11:00 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)


Rosalind Scott, Staff Services Manager I, Specialist

California Public Utilities Commission

Administrative Services Division, Management Services Branch

400 R Street, Suite 250

Sacramento, CA 95811


Relevant agencies include Hunter PR and Shadow PR

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